You ever build up something so big in your mind and in your actions that a letdown is the inevitable consequence … and you know it … and you do it all anyway?
Used to happen to me all the time at Christmas. Why, I’d start counting down pretty much the first day of school, and by the time I ate myself into a Halloween sugar coma, I was higher on the Christmas spirit than Ebeneezer Scrooge on his flight with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
And … well, Christmas around our house was usually great, even in years when maybe the bounty was smaller than anyone hoped. It was great because it was festive, and we were around family, and everyone was happy and together and there was no school for, like, forever.
It … was … great!
And then, just like … POOF! … it was all over.
Is there anything colder in this world than waking up to your mom clearing away leftover wrapping paper or throwing out the Christmas cookies on the morning of December 26.
Wow! What a slap of reality!
Of course, Christmas feels altogether different as an adult, and especially now, as an empty-nester, but it’s still a magical time of the year. Briefly, though.
The aftermath doesn’t bother me nearly as much, and I’m usually ready to just move on.
In the last few years, though, I’ve found a sort of cold completion that ranks right up there with the Christmases of my youth.
Know what it is?
Yeah, if you read the title up there, you probably figured out I’m talking about NaNoWriMo. But, man, it’s worth repeating …
NaNoWriMo is a big deal, and then … it’s done.
See, depending on your writing style, you’re likely to start thinking about your NaNoWriMo novel in October or before.
Then, you might spend some time actually outlining the thing — maybe a lot of time.
And then, when the clock ticks toward midnight on Halloween night, you get your writing utensils all sharpened … get ready … get set … and write!
And write … and write … and write … and write.
Every darn day until you’ve hit 50,000 words and have completed your full story.
Then … you celebrate, because you’ve “won” NaNoWriMo, and you’ve written a novel, which so many people say they want to do, but which so few actually ever do.
It’s an amazing accomplishment, and an amazing achievement.
You wake up the next day, though, and … what?
The urgency is gone.
The story is done.
Sure, you edit your manuscript and get it ready to publish, because you follow Heinlein’s rules.
Maybe you start thinking about your next novel … will you write that baby right away, or wait until next year?
Mostly, though, you sit there sort of stunned and wonder where all the hoopla and the magic of NaNoWriMo has gone, because it seems like it’s all in your rearview.
As Day 18 of NaNoWriMo 2019 draws to a close, I’m teetering on that precipice.
With just two chapters and about 5000 words left to go, I know I’m going to finish this novel unless I get hit by a turkey. It’s exciting, and I can hardly wait to wrap it up.
But then … what?
Because, by next weekend, I’ll be done.
And I have this sneaking suspicion I’ll wake up next Sunday morning to the sound of my mom rattling through Christmas wrapping, tossing it all in the garbage, wiping away the season.
Maybe we need to make NaNoWriMo last all year long?
In the words of Elvis Presley, “Why can’t every day be like NaNoWriMo Victory Day?”
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